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Hawkeyes look to avenge loss to Wolverines

BY BRENDAN STILES | FEBRUARY 16, 2010 7:30 AM

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Todd Lickliter has not forgotten. In fact, his memory is vivd.

When he took the Iowa men’s basketball team to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 30, it was one-sided. Dominating both ends of the floor, the Wolverines manhandled the Hawkeyes in a 60-46 victory.

The images of players, such as Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims, making Iowa look bad are still fresh, but they can evaporate tonight with a win over the Wolverines in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes (9-17, 3-10) enter tonight’s matchup alone in 10th place in the Big Ten; as of now, they would face the Wolverines (12-12, 5-7) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament for the third year in a row.

Michigan’s duo of Sims and Harris accounted for 40 of the Wolverines’ 60 points in the previous meeting, and Sims also came down with 12 rebounds.

Based on everything that transpired 17 days ago at Crisler Arena, one of the first concerns Lickliter brought up during a teleconference on Monday is how the Hawkeyes are able to play transition defense.

“Michigan is an explosive team, a good team, well-coached, so you take that into consideration.

You’re never out there by yourself,” Lickliter said. “Appropriate help is important, but I think we’ve got to take better care of the ball. We’ve got to get back in transition.”

With that in mind, however, there has also been cause for concern with the Hawkeyes’ way of assembling points. On Feb. 13, Iowa posted a season-low 40 points in a 23-point loss at Purdue — the lowest team output in 61 years.

This will also be the fourth game in 10 days for Lickliter’s squad, meaning there was very little time, if any, to dwell on last weekend’s defeat in West Lafayette, Ind.

“A team plays well, and another team doesn’t play well, it’s going to happen on a given night,” Lickliter said. “You have to realize that there’s something that helped cause it. You have to correct that, but you can’t harp on it.

“I need to address it, but our guys need to move forward.”

The Wolverines are coming off a critical road win on Feb. 11 at Minnesota in a performance head coach John Beilein said was one of his team’s best efforts.

Once again, Michigan will try to utilize Sims inside, given his track record of recent success against the Hawkeyes. In the Wolverines’ past two victories over Iowa, the senior has a combined 47 points.

“I think he’s capable of playing well every night, so he just keeps getting to where he’ll be more and more consistent,” Beilein said on Monday during the Big Ten teleconference. “I don’t know if it’s a peculiar thing with Iowa, but he certainly has had good numbers in the past.”

The Hawkeyes know the task tonight won’t be an easy one, especially because Iowa has struggled with Michigan in recent meetings. But the players also know the only thing that will matter tonight is how they perform in this meeting.

“We got to get ready to go,” freshman Cully Payne said in a radio interview after the Hawkeyes’ loss to Purdue. “We didn’t play them real well, but we got them back at our place, and it will be a good opportunity to kind of turn that around.”


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